The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has labelled the Federal Government current policy on asylum-seekers as cruel and called on the government to respect their rights.
In a statement released last week, the ACBC said: 'The current policy has about it a cruelty that does no honour to our nation. How can this be when Australians are so generous in so many situations where human beings are in strife?
'Think of the way the Vietnamese boat people were welcomed in the 1970s and 80s. The question becomes more pointed when we think of the politicians who are making and implementing the decisions. They are not cruel people. Yet they have made decisions and are implementing policies which are cruel. How can this be so?
'Island dwellers like Australians often have an acute sense of the “other” or the “outsider” – and that is how asylum seekers are being portrayed. They are the dangerous “other” or “outsider” to be feared and resisted because they are supposedly violating our borders.
'Do racist attitudes underlie the current policy? Would the policy be the same if the asylum seekers were fair-skinned Westerners rather than dark-skinned people, most of whom are of “other” religious and cultural backgrounds?'
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